Deep in the Sierra de la Macarena mountain range of Colombia lies a place where one of the most astonishing natural wonders on Earth rises: Caño Cristales “the five-color river.” Don't miss the opportunity to witness the uniqueness of its beauty by yourself to make new indelible live experiences. Also, get to know the locals of La Macarena (a village located in the southern region of Colombia) who cooperate to preserve this natural treasure.
Get up at first lights, have breakfast, and meet your driver at the hotel entrance to take you to the airport. You will fly for about an hour to La Macarena, where you will be picked up at the airport by your local guide. Then, you will take a mandatory 30-minute brief given by Cormacarena ( the tourism bureau of the place). After that, you will walk for 10 minutes through the village to La Cascada Hotel.
Once on your hotel, put your hiking shoes and be ready to start the adventure. After you settle in, you will have lunch, and then the local guide will pick you up to embark a boat to take you to the Guayabero River for 25 minutes. Afterwards you will walk for about an hour and reach Caño Cristalitos, a fantastic place with small ponds filled with the characteristic algae that give this river its rainbow-like look. For those with a better physical condition, the next stop will be El Mirador a fantastic place where you will enjoy an amazing view of the wild savannah bordered with the Macarena Mountain Range (1.5 hours hike up to the top of a mountain). In the afternoon, you will get back to the hotel and have dinner at La Macarena.
On this day, you will visit the main sector of Caño Cristales River. After having breakfast at the hotel, your guide will pick you up, and after about an hour transport by boat and jeep, you will get to the starting point of the hike that will take you to Caño Cristales. Once you reach the river, you will visit many different spots according to your hike level. On these places, you will have the chance to swim and relax at the Willy Wonka-like ponds and enjoy your lunch box. In the afternoon, you will have time to rest at the hotel before the dinner event, where you will enjoy a “ternera a la llanera”( a typical beef preparation of the Colombian flatlands) while listening to a live band of “joropo”( typical music of that part of Colombia).
On your last day at La Macarena, you will visit Los Pilones, which is a scenic hike through a stone canon with lush green vegetation. Alternatively, you will visit Caño Pedra, another prominent spot for taking a bath at a crystal-clear water river in the middle of the vast savannah. At the end of the hike, you will visit a new section of the river, and be back on time at La Macarena for lunchtime. In the afternoon, you will back to Bogotá, where a driver will pick you from the airport and take you to your Bogotá hotel.
The season where the plants that give Caño Cristales its color only grow from June to November, which is the rain season. We don't recommend travel to Caño Cristales before June or after November because you probably won't enjoy the scenery (the river will be dry and thus without plants). Please keep that in mind, when you plan your trip!
In Caño Cristales and Caño Cristalitos, it is forbidden to use sunscreen and mosquito repellent but you can use them for the rest of the trip.
The tours are run on small groups of 8 participants max. You will be assigned to a group that has the same hiking level as you. The program on day 1 and 3 will be adapted according to your level. On day 2 (Caño Cristales), there are several routes in the reserve that vary in length. You will be assigned to a route according to your hiking level.
If day 3 is Wednesday, the flight back to Bogotá leaves at 10:00 am. For this reason, the activity offered for this day is a sunrise trip at the Guayavero river.
Don’t expect luxury. The highlight of the trip is 100% nature! All meals are provided by the restaurant of the hotel and there are no hot showers.
A yellow fever vaccine certificate will be required to board the plane to La Macarena.
Things to bring:
This experience can be cancelled up to 72 hours in advance to receive a partial refund. Flight refunds depend on the airline cancellation policies.
This was the highlight of my trip.
You definitely have to be in the mood to do some serious hiking. Wet, soaked, muddy rocky path. A few serious inclines. Cloud forest environment.
Once you get on the path, there are a few stopping points with docents to provide info.
The main destination is the La Chorrera, a huge, magnificent, breathtaking cascade waterfall. You get to walk right up to it, face to face.
There are also some great little spots along the way.
EL Chiflon is the smaller cascade. You can stop there first or on the way back.
You actually get to walk behind that one.
You’ll take thousands of pictures.
Treat yourself to the Cuban restaurant on site and have a mojito, it comes with a free demonstration and history lesson.
Went here with family and a group of friends from my church back home in Philadelphia... One word “wow!”
This place is spectacular. Whether you fancy yourself a religious person or not, this is a place that everyone should see at least once.
It was an awesome day going to Coloma Farm about 2 hours south of Bogota. The drive south was very interesting seeing the rest of the city and the scenery after getting out of the city was spectacular. The driver was awesome amongst the chaotic traffic in Bogota. The coffee plantation was awesome and the guy giving the tour Julien was very knowledgeable and informative. But the best part of this tour was the guide from Impulse Travel Andrea. She was super friendly, informative and just a lovely person. She really made the day. I would highly recommend this tour and highly recommend Andrea.